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The recent hack and leak known as the #29Leaks for the address of Formations House, located at 29 Harley Street in London, made public fifteen years’ worth of leaked documents showing that Formations House, an incorporation agent, formed over 400,000 companies, many of which have been used by fraudsters and individuals linked to organized crime. Earlier leaks, such as the Panama Papers, have also disclosed that professionals such as formation agents, lawyers, and accountants have assisted criminals, kleptocrats, and others to hide their shady dealings from authorities around the world through the use of shell companies to conceal the true or “beneficial” owners of these entities.
In this presentation, Nicole S. Healy, a partner at Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PC, and Mikhail Reider-Gordon, Managing Director of Global Affairs at Affiliated Monitors, Inc. will provide an overview of the most recent leaks and discuss why lawyers and other professionals need to not only understand the risks associated with shell companies and the lack of beneficial ownership transparency as it relates to their practices, but the threat “off-shore” incorporation mills pose the security of the global financial system at large. Questions to be addressed include:
- What are shell companies and what are the tell-tale signs?
- How and why are they used to conceal beneficial ownership?
- How are shell companies used in money laundering, terrorist finance, or other criminal activities?
- How do formation agents use fake litigation to facilitate money laundering for their clients?
- What laws, rules, or regulations govern the use of shell companies in the U.S.?
- What customer due diligence (“CDD”) or Know Your Customer (“KYC”) rules should lawyers, accountants, and other professional service providers follow when dealing with potential clients?
Program Level: Overview
Intended Audience: Legal, finance and compliance professionals responsible for advising clients regarding AML/KYC issues
Prerequisites: An interest in beneficial ownership, shell companies, international anti-money laundering (“AML”) and counter-terrorist finance (“CFT”), lawyer ethics and obligations
Advanced Preparation: None